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Moving to New Zealand
Whether you have any idea of what life is like in New Zealand or not, our comprehensive relocation guide discusses everything you need to know and then some. From visa application, house-hunting, healthcare, and even the many nuances of Kiwi and Maori culture. We have got you covered.
This guide will help you navigate your way around the multiple legal and official permits you need to submit to make a life in New Zealand possible. Each section includes practical tips from our team of relocation experts. As any seasoned traveler will tell you, each country poses its own set of challenges and New Zealand is no exception.
If you enjoy the outdoors as much as we do, then New Zealand will definitely not disappoint. It promises exciting outdoor activities for adrenaline junkies and newbies alike. Whether its bungee jumping, white water rafting, canoeing, or hiking- you name it. New Zealand’s unique geographical features makes it one of the more quintessential locations for outdoor sports activities. Many consider it as a big natural playground. It is no wonder that its citizens have a good work-life balance.
Although considered to be a very laid-back country, New Zealanders are quite vigilant when it comes to preserving its natural beauty. It is no surprise then, that New Zealand goes to great length to protect its biodiversity.
First things first. New Zealand is very strict about what is allowed inside the country. Whether you are bringing your belongings via ship or plane, you will need to make a very detailed list of the items and their value to be allowed to go through customs.
If you are planning on bringing pets then you’ve got your work cut out for you. There is a list of approved countries from which pets may be imported. If your country is part of the list, prepare to provide detailed documentation on your four-legged friends. Keep in mind that the country does not allow mixed breeds or hybrids entry. Your cat or dog has to be pure-bred, and even then, certain breeds will still be prohibited. If your country is not on the list, then you may have to find other ways to bring them in or leave them behind.
Visas and Work Permits
You will require a job offer from an employer in New Zealand to be considered for a visa. However, this still doesn’t guarantee entry into the country. The reason why is that the application period is very short and is open only once a year. Visa vacancies are filled up in a matter of days and it can get competitive. New Zealand has very low visa quotas.
Like visa requirements from other countries, New Zealand requires proof of identity, overall good health, and financial capability for the duration of your stay. You must be able to prove that you can support yourself financially while in the country, as well as pay for your plane ticket home. We will discuss the different kinds of visas, costs, and requirements in a later section of the guide.
The good news is, renting a property is not a problem in New Zealand. The process is straightforward and pretty much hassle-free. The bad news is finding furnished rentals. Most furnished options on the market are studios which are typically rented by students. Reasonably big furnished apartments are quite rare, so it might take a little longer to find a suitable place.
In 2018, the New Zealand government banned foreigners from buying property in the country. The move aims to make properties more affordable. The exception would be foreigners with a residency status, as well as Australians and Singaporeans because of free-trade deals.
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Healthcare in New Zealand is a mix of private and public services. Public healthcare doesn’t necessarily mean entirely free. You will still need to pay a small fee for certain services. Expats will need to check their eligibility to avail of healthcare services, which is basically any visa that allows them to stay in the country for two years. Ineligible expats also cannot apply for private coverage.
Banks and Taxes
It is always a good idea for an expat to check the requirements for opening a bank account as soon as possible. Thanks to recent developments, it is now possible to open an account in certain banks even before flying out. This has many benefits compared to opening one upon arrival. For one, you don’t have to personally visit the bank of your choice and prove your identity until you arrive. So, weigh your options well before deciding which bank is best for you and where to open your account.
We will also be discussing the tax system and current tax rates in New Zealand in this section. Although the system in place is pretty simple, it is still good to know the hows and the whys when it comes to your taxes. After all, it is a good way to understand the real value of your salary or profits.
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Education standards are high in New Zealand and there are many schools to choose from whether public, private, or international. Public schools follow a national curriculum while private schools have more freedom with its own. Although majority of private schools are Catholic, the religious component is often toned down.
International schools are abundant and offer quality education on all levels. The only caveat is that English is the only language of instruction.
The first thing to do if you’re seriously looking into relocating to New Zealand is finding out how to get a job there. Domestic employment is one of the major requirements you will need to secure your visa application. The local job market is generally friendly to foreign jobseekers, freelancers and business owners.
There are many websites that cater specifically to foreign jobseekers, as well as a national program that connects foreign employees to New Zealand employers. These are excellent places to begin when you have not been recommended for local employment.
Foreigners who wish to start their own business or those who want to be self-employed will be pleased to know that there is very little that would stand in their way as long as they meet certain requirements. If you plan on going this route, be prepared that the working benefits are nothing to write home about.
One thing about the Kiwi and Maori culture is that everything is generally laid-back. The people are friendly and have an overall appreciation for nature. This doesn’t mean to say that they are not competitive or efficient at the workplace.
Applying for a driver’s license would be a good idea if you plan on living outside major cities. Public transportation in the more rural areas are not as common and it would be to your advantage to be able to drive to the city should the need arise.